Unimaginable tragedy in Virginia

Published 11:24 pm Monday, April 23, 2007

By By Jo Bonner
As the news of the horrific events at Virginia Tech unfolded on national television last week, an immediate sense of shock transfixed the nation.
In a matter of seconds, a normal, peaceful Monday morning was shattered as we once again witnessed a tragic attack on a school campus.
A disturbed young man, with obvious psychological problems, killed 32 students and professors and injured dozens more before killing himself.
As I watched the news coverage throughout the week, I was struck by the resilience and determination of the Virginia Tech community.
We heard the stories of young lives cut short – fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters – who will never return home to their families. We also heard stories of heroism – a professor who died protecting his students and students who risked their lives to save the lives of their fellow classmates.
In a fitting tribute, President George W. Bush ordered that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff for six days in honor of the victims.
At the memorial convocation on the day following the tragedy, the president offered words of comfort not only to the Virginia Tech community but to the nation.
"As a dad, I can assure you, a parent's love is never far from their child's heart. And as you draw closer to your own families in the coming days, I ask you to reach out to those who ache for sons and daughters who will never come home," he said.
What happened at Virginia Tech is a tragedy, and my deepest sympathies go out to the students, their families, faculty, staff and the entire Virginia Tech community.
Tax Day 2007
Tax Day 2007 was bittersweet – as millions of Americans are due to receive higher average tax refunds than last year, the celebration is tempered by the threat of a looming tax increase.
This year, Americans will once again have more money returning to their pockets, which is in no small part due to a series of historic tax cuts signed into law in 2001 and 2003. These policies have supported nearly four straight years of economic growth and added 7.5 million new jobs.
In fact, this year Americans will receive an average refund of $2,394, up from $2,314 last year, and the average federal tax rate for a four-person family earning the median income – 13.1 percent – has been reduced to its lowest point since the 1960s.
The new House majority, however, has made it clear that their first fiscal priority is to raise taxes by billions of dollars – nearly $400 billion over five years – on millions of Americans.
And this isn't good news for the average Alabama household. If this tax increase is enacted, the average tax-paying Alabama household will owe an additional $2,500 in taxes – and that's a lot of money to most us in south Alabama.
It is a sad commentary that Washington thinks the federal government can spend your hard-earned tax dollars better than you. The federal budget, which passed on a party line vote, would eliminate each and every one of these historic tax cuts.
Worst of all, the 26 million small business owners who have created most of our economy's new jobs would see their taxes go up by nearly $4,000.
The Wall Street Journal warned that "the tax increase fuse has now been lit. Do nothing and taxes will rise as much as they have at any one time since World War II…A tax increase of that magnitude could well lead to a recession and a plunge in receipts."
And most Americans agree. This month, the Tax Foundation released "Special Report: What Does America Think About Taxes?" It found that a majority of U.S. adults believe the federal tax code is complex, federal income taxes are "too high," and the federal tax system needs major changes or a complete overhaul.
During my tenure in Congress, I have worked hard to ensure that Congress is a more responsible steward of the money the American taxpayers send to Washington. Unfortunately, the new modus operandi in Washington seems to be tax, tax, tax.
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website at http://bonner.house.gov.
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.

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